cover image How to Write a Poem

How to Write a Poem

Kwame Alexander and Deanna Nikaido, illus. by Melissa Sweet. Quill Tree, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-306090-6

Emphatic and rhythmic verse instructs readers about the titular subject in this wonder-filled companion to Alexander and Sweet’s How to Read a Book, in collaboration with poet Nikaido. An opening suggestion encourages openness (“Begin with a question,// like an acorn/ waiting for spring”) and beckons readers to take “dive deep into the silent sea// of/ your/ imagination.” As vivid descriptions capture sensations of creativity, imperative lines build toward a prompt to put pencil to paper and share the result. Natural motifs weave throughout as children of varied skin tones ecstatically “listen to the grass,/ the flowers,/ the trees—anything// that’s friends with the sun.” Sweet’s striking mixed-media collages use handmade and vintage paper, watercolor and gouache techniques, and even pebbles as they visualize the text’s expansive energy via wheels, circles, and spheres. The range of techniques in use supportively connects the ideas of creativity and remixing. The result is a highly welcoming invitation to write that makes clear poetry is for everyone—reader and writer alike. Creator notes conclude. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)